Grab your tickets for The Taste benefiting the Mary Bird Perkins Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center

Check out all of Jay Ducote's products at the online store with free shipping on orders over $50!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Knob Creek Rye: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Knob Creek Rye
Knob Creek Rye
We haven't featured much Rye Whiskey here on the Whisk(e)y Wednesday but it makes an appearance every now and then. Today is actually a special day because tonight at the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar you can taste this whiskey and several more bourbons from the small batch collection of the Jim Beam distillery including Booker's, Baker's, and Basil Hayden's. The event starts at 6:30.

As for the Knob Creek Rye, we really enjoyed it. The nose is robust and mighty. You can nearly smell it from across the bar. Cinnamon combines with floral notes an a bit of honey sweetness. I caught a whiff of bubble gum on the nose which quickly turned into Big Red chewing gum. The 100 proof whiskey doesn't play around on the tongue either. Right up front you are hit with pepper and other spices. It is a cornucopia of chewy whiskey as the oily texture coats your entire mouth and is surprisingly smooth compared to what the proof and aroma would suggest. With a little water it opens up with some oak and floral notes. The finish is strong and sticks with you. All in all, this is a pretty darn good rye. I'd gladly use it in cocktails and could drink it straight again if I had to!

Knob Creek Rye
Average Score: 76.0


Whisk(e)y Wednesday is a blog post series on Bite and Booze sponsored by the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar. Lock & Key has one of Baton Rouge's best selections of bourbon, Scotch, Irish, and other whisk(e)ys available for on premise consumption. This WW feature was scored by Jay Ducote from Bite and Booze, Arthur Lauck from Lock & Key, Charlies Pierce, and Jeremy Spikes. Scores are marked for Nose, Taste, Finish, and Balance and Complexity using our own proprietary scoring system. Marks are then added and averaged, leaving us with a final score out of a 100 point scale. Our scale should be looked at on the full range of 0-100 rather than an academic range where 70 is passing and anything less is failing. A 50 should be considered a very mediocre whisk(e)y (though not undrinkable) while anything below 20 is absolute horse piss and anything above 80 is rather extraordinary and anything above 90 is world class.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Le Foret: Bite and Booze Radio Show presented by Calandro's Supermarket

Jumbo Seared Scallops Topped with Ghost Pepper Caviar
I took the Bite and Booze Radio Show on the road to New Orleans with my buddy Chuck P. from the Me and My Big Mouth Radio Show and my Chief Confusion Coordinator Blair Loup to tear up the town. One of our first stops brought us to Le Foret, a fine dining restaurant located on 129 Camp Street. Upon walking in to the restaurant, my eyes we drawn to the beautiful art pieces and large wine cellar. The dining room is bright and refreshing and each wall has a really cool piece of art the owners get from a gallery up the road.

Take a listen to the show and salivate with us as we feast on these amazing dishes.




Chef Brandon Felder prepared a couple of his starters for us. The first was classic New Orleans BBQ Shrimp. Massive, succulent shrimp set atop a fried grit cake were enveloped in an Abita Beer Sauce. The rich sauce layered with spices finished smoothly with a bite of the creamy grit cake.

Louisiana BBQ Shrimp
Something else to start with is the Truffled Gnocchi. Gnocchi has a very potato-ey texture which pairs well with a creamy sauce. Chef chose a crawfish Parmesan cream sauce. Asparagus tips, corn and wild mushrooms offered a little bite and balance both texture and flavor-wise.

Truffled Gnocchi
Truffled Gnocchi


Chef Felder showing off the fresh soft shell crab
Chef Felder showing off the fresh soft shell crab




Next out of the kitchen came perhaps the most beautiful dish I've seen. The colors added a lot of character to the plate and the dish composed with classic flavors we bold and fun together. Sweet Louisiana soft shell crab straight out of the water that morning set atop a savory corn maque choux accompanied by a peppery arugula salad made for a refreshing, satisfying dish.

Louisiana Soft Shell Crab Crusted in Cornmeal
Louisiana Soft Shell Crab Crusted in Cornmeal

The Bite and Booze Radio Show presented by Calandro's Supermarket airs on Saturdays at 5 PM and replays Sundays at 8 PM on Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge. The show is hosted by Jay Ducote and won a Taste Award in January 2014 as the best food or drink based radio broadcast in the country. The producer of the show is Chris Courtney at Guaranty Broadcasting and the field producer is Charles Pierce from the Me and My Big Mouth Show. It is also available on iTunes. The show's sponsors include Calandro's SupermarketVisit Baton RougePortico Restaurant and BarLock & Key Whiskey BarLe Creole RestaurantSlap Ya Mama Cajun SeasoningMama Della's N.Y. City PizzeriaMason's GrillDonner-Peltier Distillers (Rougaroux Rums and Oryza Vodka and Gin), Louisiana Cookin' MagazineJuban's Restaurant, the Tin Roof Brewing Company, the Louisiana Culinary Institute and Triumph Kitchen.

Friday, May 23, 2014

NOLA Brewing with Kirk Coco: Bite and Booze Radio Show presented by Calandro's Supermarket

NOLA's Spy P.A.: Hopitoulas infused with Pineapple and Habañero
NOLA's Spy P.A.: Hopitoulas infused with Pineapple and Habañero
A couple weeks ago, and unfortunately before the Brad to Matthew Hopitoulas toss, I sat down for a good show with the founder of NOLA Brewing, Kirk Coco. Joined by my friend Chuck P. of the Me and My Big Mouth Radio Show, my Chief Confusion Coordinator, Blair Loup, and owner of Tiger Deaux-nuts, Jeff Herman, I learned a lot about Kirk, how he came up with the idea of starting NOLA Brewery and the inspirations behind some of their beers.

Kirk rolled up to the brewery floor on his Triumph motorcycle, took us inside and set us up with some of their taproom specialty brews. With New Orleans Brass playing in the background, Kirk told us how the brewery came to be, problems he's run into throughout the process, and explained the culture of the community that is craft brewing. If you're ever in New Orleans, stop by the taproom and try some of their special experimental beers, take home a growler and sing the praises of Louisiana craft beer!




The Bite and Booze Radio Show presented by Calandro's Supermarket airs on Saturdays at 5 PM and replays Sundays at 8 PM on Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge. The show is hosted by Jay Ducote and won a Taste Award in January 2014 as the best food or drink based radio broadcast in the country. The producer of the show is Chris Courtney at Guaranty Broadcasting and the field producer is Charles Pierce from the Me and My Big Mouth Show. It is also available on iTunes. The show's sponsors include Calandro's SupermarketVisit Baton RougePortico Restaurant and BarLock & Key Whiskey BarLe Creole RestaurantSlap Ya Mama Cajun SeasoningMama Della's N.Y. City PizzeriaMason's GrillDonner-Peltier Distillers (Rougaroux Rums and Oryza Vodka and Gin), Louisiana Cookin' MagazineJuban's Restaurant, the Tin Roof Brewing Company, the Louisiana Culinary Institute and Triumph Kitchen.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Noah's Mill: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Noah's Mill Bourbon
Noah's Mill Bourbon
The third bourbon in the Bardstown Flight ($16) at the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar is a beast: Noah's Mill. Following Willett Pot Still and Rowan's Creek, the Noah's Mill ($10) is even higher proofed, giving it a flaring sting on the nostrils. The potent leathery aroma packed a good punch in the face in every delightful way. Tobacco, lavender, and oak also filled the nose. Upon hitting the lips the bourbon is a flamethrower when uncut. The high proof provides a significant burn with cloves and vanilla present. The addition of some big spice flavors accents the nearly chewy texture of the whiskey as the weighty and oily mouthfeel coats the tongue. The finish remains long and unruly but in a way that every bourbon drinker will enjoy. When cut with water the whiskey reveals some finer nuanced flavors with a bit of honeysuckle. This whiskey provides a true experience to the drinker. It is a big brother and heavy hitter type of bourbon. Noah's Mill is a delicate flower with intricate flavors and impressive fire. Try it on your own accord. And love it.

Noah's Mill Bourbon
Average Score: 86.5


Whisk(e)y Wednesday is a blog post series on Bite and Booze sponsored by the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar. Lock & Key has one of Baton Rouge's best selections of bourbon, Scotch, Irish, and other whisk(e)ys available for on premise consumption. This WW feature was scored by Jay Ducote and Blair Loup from Bite and Booze, Arthur Lauck from Lock & Key, and Jeremy Spikes. Scores are marked for Nose, Taste, Finish, and Balance and Complexity using our own proprietary scoring system. Marks are then added and averaged, leaving us with a final score out of a 100 point scale. Our scale should be looked at on the full range of 0-100 rather than an academic range where 70 is passing and anything less is failing. A 50 should be considered a very mediocre whisk(e)y (though not undrinkable) while anything below 20 is absolute horse piss and anything above 80 is rather extraordinary and anything above 90 is world class.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Mojito Extreme and Dominican Beisbol: Jay's Adventure in the Dominican Republic Part Tres

Jay drinks an Orgasmo Negro in the Dominican Republic
Jay drinks an Orgasmo Negro in the Dominican Republic
A few weeks ago I wrote about my arrival to the northern coast of the Dominican Republic as well as some of amazing pollo guisado. As the #MancationDR continued, we found more adventures to get into. Kite Beach, just down the coast from Cabarete, is home to the sport of kitesurfing. While I enjoyed some time in the sand, some of the other fellas took some lessons with kites and surfboards but never quite made it to the water. One of the days we ate lunch at the Mojito Bar at the site of the Extreme Hotel on aforementioned Kite Beach. The little restaurant overlooked the ocean and had a lovely variety of fresh ingredients as well as some tasty cocktails. I opted for the Orgasmo Negro, a sweet concoction made of rum, banana, coconut cream, chocolate, and sugar. It sure hit the spot as I, being on a beach in the Dominican Republic and all, needed a rum drink in my hand. After the Orgasmo Negro coated my stomach walls I figured I should also try one of the namesake mojitos. This classic rum and mint cocktail is dynamite for a Dominican beach. And the Brugal Rum, made right there in the DR, makes an exceptional beverage.

The beach view from the Mojito Bar
The beach view from the Mojito Bar on Kite Beach

Hot Dog Vending at Estadio Julian Javier
Hot Dog Vending at Estadio Julian Javier
One of the highlights of the entire trip to the Dominican Republic came on a trip to San Francisco de Macoris toward the middle of the country for a baseball game in the Dominican Winter League. We drove in the tourism bus over some mountains and along some windy roads with breathtaking views. Getting to see some of the inner communities in the Dominican Republic also served as an eye opener to their way of life. By enlarge I encountered happy people with friendly spirits. While there were certainly signs of poverty and lack of infrastructure, there were also smiles of contentment. They didn't need much. They didn't live such materialistic lifestyles. I could really get behind that... in theory. When we arrived at Estadio Julian Javier in San Francisco de Macoris I immediately took in the sights and smells. Baseball is by far the most popular sport in the Dominican Republic, and their Winter League is the big time. Outside the stadium thousands of people gathered as we were there for a good rivalry game. I found a food cart with these hotdogs on sticks and also some in buns dressed with mayo, ketchup, and corn. They looked pretty tempting!

Sun sets at Estadio Julian Javier in San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic
Sun sets at Estadio Julian Javier in San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic

Empanadas at a baseball game
Empanadas at a baseball game
Those of you who have followed Bite and Booze for a while know that I'm a huge baseball fan. I was even one of the top 30 finalists for the MLB Fan Cave in 2013, so my passion runs pretty deep. Seeing a Dominican Winter League game definitely showed up pretty high on my list of activities while visiting the republic. And of course, what's a baseball game without some food and beer? Our crew feasted on some empanadas. The fried dough pockets were stuffed with a pork sausage mixture and it left me wondering why meat pies aren't more of a stadium food everywhere. As we watched the Aguilas (Eagles) from nearby Santiago light up the home town Gigantes (Giants), we could feel the energy in the air. The excitement from the fans of both teams truly permeated throughout the stadium. You couldn't help but enjoy the game in that environment. 



Empanadas at a baseball game
Presidente Light... Baseball Beer in the DR!
Of course, after that meat pie and a few innings of baseball I needed a cold one. I'll be damned if I were to attend a professional baseball game and not enjoy at least a couple brews, so I waited for a vendor to come up the ramp and ordered a round of Presidentes for my amigos. The 12oz cans of Presidente Light sold for about 70 pesos each at the stadium. All I had in my pocket were US dollars, so I handed over a $10 for five beers and said keep the change. The 70 pesos roughly translated to $1.60 a beer, so about $8 for all five plus a $2 tip. That same beer at your average MLB game would have cost $10 each. I had a huge smile on my face. Beers for everyone. It didn't take me long to order another round.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Put it all on 18 Steak

A couple of weeks ago my Chief Confusion Coordinator, Blair Loup, and I got the chance to sit down to a wonderful feast at L’Auberge Baton Rouge’s 18 Steak with their PR Manager, Julie Collins. Hanging out with Julie at the Stadium Bar & Grill’s Jameson Dinner in March proved to be a lovely dining experience, so naturally we were pumped to get the invite to try out 18 Steak! I’ve had the fortune of being treated to some amazing meals at the Ember Grille & Wine Bar at the L’Auberge in Lake Charles a few times, so I eagerly anticipated what 18 Steak would have to offer. I had been to 18 Steak a couple times for private events like the Mount Gay Rum Dinner, but this would be my first time to eat off the regular menu.


The evening began at the bar where the ladies and I each enjoyed an Old Fashioned made with George Dickel Whisky - good stuff if you haven’t tried it. The dining room features something of a whiskey barrel theme. You can tell a lot of thought, creative use of whiskey barrels, and attention to detail went into its construction. Julie set us up with a really nice booth overlooking the river and the party commenced. By party, I mean I looked through their iPad wine list for days. The impressive selection entertained me for quite a while. Chef Samantha Foglesong grabbed my attention right away with some creative appetizers. I highly recommend stopping by to check out what Chef is slinging. Who knows... maybe you’ll see me there. I’ll be the guy with the Cowboy Ribeye sitting between two ladies gabbing and giggling about Harry Potter nonsense. At least, that's what happened on this occasion, but I loved it. 

Foie gras is essentially a fattened duck or goose liver that can be prepared in a number of ways. Pictured below is 18 Steak's take on liver and onions. Foie gras can be a texture problem for some, but the taste of this particular dish is well balanced. The fattiness of the liver combined with the crunch of the foie gras crouton and pickled onions sends a pop of flavors and consistencies to the palate. I enjoyed the pickling of the onions. It helped brighten up the heavy flavor of the foie gras.

Liver & Onions: Seared Foie Gras, Foie Gras Crouton, and Pickled Onions

The Lobster Spring Rolls were presented beautifully. The colors from the vegetables on the plate really made the dish stand out visually. Our server suggested we treat the spring roll as the filling in a lettuce wrap. This lit up the flavors inside the roll and made for a refreshing starter to our meal.

Lobster Spring Roll with Bok Choy and Cilantro
Lobster Spring Roll with Bok Choy and Cilantro

18 Steak tops their crab cake with a creamy lump crab ravigote. The crab cake featured a perfectly crunchy shell while maintaining a pleasantly succulent inside. Combined with the cool, creamy ravigote, the crab cake had all the elements of savory seasonings and textures you could ask for.

Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with Ground Mustard and Crab Ravigote
Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with Ground Mustard and Crab Ravigote 
The Corn Macque Choux is a classic dish at a southerner's gathering, but 18 Steak has given this classic a delightful makeover. The rich spiciness of tasso adds a new level of zing to this already delightfully zesty side dish. Presented in a corn husk, this is dish is a must-order for me.

Sweet Corn Maque Choux
Sweet Corn Maque Choux 
I'm a big fan of oysters so I had to try to the fried Gulf oysters Rockefellar! The oysters were skillfully fried with a nice crunch and juicy center. The wilted, creamy spinach underneath complimented the crunch of the oysters. If you're an oyster fan, you won't want to pass this one up.

Gulf Oysters with Rockefeller Pernod, Wilted Spinach, and Ricotta Salata
Gulf Oysters with Rockefeller Pernod, Wilted Spinach, and Ricotta Salata 
New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp is a familiar flavor. Sometimes when outside of New Orleans recreating this classic is tricky, but 18 Steak hit the nail on the head. Jumbo Gulf shrimp were cloaked in a decadent, savory sauce and topped with buttery breadsticks. Definitely dip the breadsticks in the buttery mixture.

Wood Grilled BBQ Shrimp with Lobster Dumplings and Rustic Stone Focaccia Breadsticks
Wood Grilled BBQ Shrimp with Lobster Dumplings and Rustic Stone Focaccia Breadsticks 

"Where have you been all my life?" is the first thought that crossed my mind when I took a bite of the 18 Steak mac n' cheese. Not only was the macaroni thick and creamy, but the tasso ham added a pleasant saltiness and spiciness to the dish. On top is basically a fried cheese puff. Before you go thinking "that's too much cheese," please stop yourself. There is no way a dish with cheese in its name can have too much cheese. Also, the crunchiness of the crouton really adds something special to the much loved comfort food. If you try it and still think it's too much, send it my way.

Macaroni and Cheese with Tasso Ham and Fontina Stuffed Crouton
Macaroni and Cheese with Tasso Ham and Fontina Stuffed Crouton

Julie had the Wagyu flatiron steak. Wagyu is a breed of Japanese cows and is known for it's intense and consistent marbling. This marbling helps create an extremely juicy steak. Pictured below is the Wagyu Flatiron with a Bleu Cheese Crust, a "Steak Enhancer" at 18 Steak and a harmonious pairing.

12 oz. Flat Iron Wagyu Steak also aged for 45 Days and grilled over Mesquite, Hickory and Pecan woods with a Bleu Cheese Crust
12 oz. Flat Iron Wagyu Steak aged for 45 Days and grilled over Mesquite, Hickory and Pecan woods with a Bleu Cheese Crust

While there were some incredible looking dishes to tempt me, I had to go for the steak. My top choice in steaks is pretty much always a bone ribeye. This time I went with the center cut ribeye. A nice sear on the outside out a charred crust on the gorgeous prime steak and I included some foie gras butter on the side.

16 oz. Center Cut Ribeye aged for 45 days and grilled over Mesquite, Hickory and Pecan woods with Foie Gras Butter
16 oz. Center Cut Ribeye aged for 45 days and grilled over Mesquite, Hickory and Pecan woods with Foie Gras Butter

Bite and Booze Bonus: Seriously... don't skip on the Macaroni or the Corn Maque Choux - they might change your life. Also try the Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Fresh Sage, Brown Butter and Maple Syrup... a little sweet and very savory.

18 STEAK on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Rowan's Creek: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Rowan's Creek Bourbon
 Rowan's Creek Bourbon
Last week we took a look at the Willett Pot Still bourbon that's on the Bardstown Flight ($16) at the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar on Corporate Boulevard in Baton Rouge. This week we tackle another bourbon on that flight: Rowan's Creek ($10). This Kentucky Bourbon starts with butterscotch and banana on the nose. Perhaps a little like bananas foster, which is never a bad thing. The over-proofed whiskey continues with the banana flavors on the palate. Up front it is like a banana Runt. As the fruit subsides the mid-palate carries flavors of butter cream, followed by a rush of black peppercorn. Wood and alcohol are present as Rowan's Creek presents a big mouth feel with a substantial burn. It opens up nicely and great flavors come though with just a couple drops of water. The finish is long and continues as a oily pepper drip down the throat. It is lingering goodness that ought to be enjoyed. Overall the whiskey has some slight complexity that intrigues even the advanced drinkers. While I think it is just a few notes shy of being amazing, Rowan's Creek is definitely still worth a giving a try.


Rowan's Creek Bourbon
Average Score: 74.75



Whisk(e)y Wednesday is a blog post series on Bite and Booze sponsored by the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar. Lock & Key has one of Baton Rouge's best selections of bourbon, Scotch, Irish, and other whisk(e)ys available for on premise consumption. This WW feature was scored by Jay Ducote and Blair Loup from Bite and Booze, Arthur Lauck from Lock & Key, and Jeremy Spikes. Scores are marked for Nose, Taste, Finish, and Balance and Complexity using our own proprietary scoring system. Marks are then added and averaged, leaving us with a final score out of a 100 point scale. Our scale should be looked at on the full range of 0-100 rather than an academic range where 70 is passing and anything less is failing. A 50 should be considered a very mediocre whisk(e)y (though not undrinkable) while anything below 20 is absolute horse piss and anything above 80 is rather extraordinary and anything above 90 is world class.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Big Chefs in Small Towns: Country Roads Magazine Names 2014's Best Small Town Chefs



Country Roads Magazine in conjunction with Triumph Kitchen is awarding the Best Small Town Chefs Award for the first time ever. There are many great chefs that go unnoticed in small town settings around the state, so Country Roads and Triumph Kitchen decided to change that! Three restaurants are represented in the inaugural awards: Chefs Keith and Nealy Frents of LOLA (Covington), Chefs Cody and Samantha Carroll of Hot Tails (New Roads), and Chef Jeremy Langlois of Houmas House (Darrow) are this year's Small Town Chefs.

A celebration of their work will be displayed at a special dinner on June 26th featuring passed hors d'oeuvres by Triumph Kitchen and Louisiana Culinary Institute students and a tasting style menu showcasing signature dishes by each Best of Small Town Chefs of 2014. Wine pairings, live music by Kirk Holder, and tours of the LCI Demonstration Kitchens are on the list of activities at this inaugural event.

Early bird tickets for the event are on sale now until the end of May for $65 and enter you in a drawing for a free leisure class at LCI. After May 31st tickets are $75. Proceeds benefit the efforts of Triumph Kitchen.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Willett Pot Still: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key Whiskey Bar

Willett Pot Still at Lock & Key
Willett Pot Still at Lock & Key
Finally Whisk(e)y Wednesday has come back to whiskey reviews. We hit the ground running with a bourbon tasting from the Bardstown Flight ($16) at the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar. The flight contains Willett, Rowan's Creek, and Noah's Mill, which we'll cover here over the next three weeks. It is absolutely worth trying! The Willett Pot Still ($10 by itself) is a wheated Kentucky Bourbon. The nose is lightly oaked with floral notes and a hint of vanilla. Some cinnamon and caramel starts to come through with a little water. The 90 proof whiskey needs to open up just a tad to get all of the complexity. On the tongue the Willett starts off like a sugary candy and then gives way to pepper mid palate. The spicy, woody notes carry a bit of honey and melon flavors to the low burn of the finish. The burn is pleasant but not overly complex. It is dry and slow as it evaporates from the mouth and you take the last swallow. The Willett is definitely worth trying and could be worth collecting as well if for nothing more than the awesome pot still shaped bottle that it comes in. Make sure to check it out at Lock & Key!

Willett Pot Still Bourbon
Average Score: 74.5


Whisk(e)y Wednesday is a blog post series on Bite and Booze sponsored by the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar. Lock & Key has one of Baton Rouge's best selections of bourbon, Scotch, Irish, and other whisk(e)ys available for on premise consumption. This WW feature was scored by Jay Ducote and Blair Loup from Bite and Booze, Arthur Lauck from Lock & Key, and Jeremy Spikes. Scores are marked for Nose, Taste, Finish, and Balance and Complexity using our own proprietary scoring system. Marks are then added and averaged, leaving us with a final score out of a 100 point scale. Our scale should be looked at on the full range of 0-100 rather than an academic range where 70 is passing and anything less is failing. A 50 should be considered a very mediocre whisk(e)y (though not undrinkable) while anything below 20 is absolute horse piss and anything above 80 is rather extraordinary and anything above 90 is world class.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Indieplate: Bite and Booze Radio Show presented by Calandro's Supermarket

Peru Sharma and Ben Bartage from Indieplate discuss their business with host Jay Ducote
Peru Sharma and Ben Bartage from Indieplate discuss their business
with host Jay Ducote
This week on the Bite and Booze Radio Show presented by Calandro's Supermarket I welcome Ben Bartage and Peru Sharma from Indieplate onto the show to discuss their business model of supplying fresh ingredients from the farm to your doorstep. Seriously, it is amazing. Also joining in on the fun is Blaise Calandro III from Calandro's Supermarket to talk about an event on this Thursday, May 8th, at the Perkins Road store as well as Raj Bhakta, the founder and CEO of Whistle Pig Rye Whiskey. Give it a listen... I think you'll enjoy this show!






The Bite and Booze Radio Show presented by Calandro's Supermarket airs on Saturdays at 5 PM and replays Sundays at 8 PM on Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge. The show is hosted by Jay Ducote and won a Taste Award in January 2014 as the best food or drink based radio broadcast in the country. The producer of the show is Chris Courtney at Guaranty Broadcasting and the field producer is Charles Pierce from the Me and My Big Mouth Show. It is also available on iTunes. The show's sponsors include Calandro's SupermarketVisit Baton RougePortico Restaurant and BarLock & Key Whiskey BarLe Creole RestaurantSlap Ya Mama Cajun SeasoningMama Della's N.Y. City PizzeriaMason's GrillDonner-Peltier Distillers (Rougaroux Rums and Oryza Vodka and Gin), Louisiana Cookin' MagazineJuban's Restaurant, the Tin Roof Brewing Company, the Louisiana Culinary Institute and Triumph Kitchen.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Palo Rojo: 7 Places to get Your South of the Border Fix in the Red Stick

Baton Rouge is home to an extremely varied population. Surrounded by destination food cities that embody Cajun and Creole cuisine, I find that the many faces of that Capital City's culinary landscape to be one of the best parts of our food culture. Most culinary regions share the same influence, but Baton Rouge is home to quite a few cultures that each present their own extraordinary cuisine. We have a strong presence of Cajun, Creole, Southern, Latin American, Western European, Greek and Mediterranean, and East Asian influences. Having that said, in no particular order, these are some of the best, authentic Latin American joints in town. If you're tired of finding that Baton Rouge is slacking on the Mexican Cuisine front only to be stuck in the same rut of casual "Mexican" eateries, then it is time to think again. Don't see your favorite here? Leave me a comment and tell me where you like to grab your favorite south of the border bite or leave me a note on the Bite and Booze Facebook Page!


Lengua Gordita
Lengua Gordita
Taco n Sabor: 3151 College Drive

Fairly new on the scene, Taco n Sabor is tucked away in the small College Creek shopping center. You may have passed it up because you've been caught up in the horrendous College Dr. traffic. I'll let it slide this time, but just know that this place has developed quite the buzz around town and is worth every bit of praise received. Not used to the different kinds of meats and spices behind the counter? No problem!--the staff is very nice and will offer samples upon request or quizzical expression.

Bite and Booze Bonus: Try the Ellotes Preparados. The Mexican Street Corn is cheesy, spicy, and delicious!







Pollo en Mole
Pollo en Mole





La Reyna: 13213 Perkins Rd.

It is time to check out this hole in the wall Honduran place on Perkins near Siegen. One of my top dishes to get at La Reyna is the Pollo en Mole, chicken meat braised down in a spicy chocolate sauce. It is absolutely the best mole I've had in Baton Rouge! The flavors of the sauce balance nicely with the rice and beans while a side of fried plantains supplies a nice crunchy textural contrast. La Reyna definitely represents more of the Central America region rather than straight up Mexican, which is just fine by me.

Bite and Booze Bonus: Don't shy away from one of their tropical fruit drinks. The Tamarindo offers a nice sweetness to compliment the spices in their dishes.


Torta Carnitas
Torta Carnitas



La Tiendita: 6031 Siegen Ln.

While every eatery in this post represents authentic Latin American cuisine, La Tiendita is my go to Mexican craving fix. The tacos are superbly simple yet phenomenal and their other menu items shine too. I highly suggest a torta, which is close to the Mexican equivalent of a poboy. If you're looking for a bold and zesty authentic Mexican menu, you'll want to check out La Tiendita for sure!

Bite and Booze Bonus: Try the Queso Fundido... the not skillet of molten cheese brings right the right flavor to the warm tortilla chips.





Pork with Cactus
Pork with Cactus

La Michoacana:103 W. Jeansonne St., Gonzales, LA 70737

Half restaurant, half Latin American Market, La Michoacana proved worthy of the drive for me. Who doesn't love a place where you can get authentic Latin American cuisine, a Mexican Coke, some cowboy boots, and blocks of queso fresco? I skipped past the fajitas and enchiladas and headed straight for the lengua burrito and tacos. A friend of mine had their special of the day, pork and stewed cactus. I would recommend this tangy, spicy, and savory pork lovers out there. My dishes were excellent as well. I'm a big fan of lengua because it's tender, juicy and goes well with some crumbled queso fresco and cilantro. With impeccable service and a delightfully fresh, mild salsa, La Michocana is worth the stop if you're in the neighborhood.

Bite and Booze Bonus: Shop through the store on your way out, they have good looking tortillas, hard to find ingredients and produce available.



La Morinita: 7981 Florida Blvd.

If you cook a lot of Mexican food at home or like to try new recipes that call for specialized Latin American ingredients, skip hopping around to 2-3 different grocery stores and check out La Morinita. It's a huge market full of everything from specialized beverages, a fresh meat market, and tons of produce and dry goods. They have an array of spices, some of which I haven't even heard of, so chances are you'll be able to find what you're looking for. It's easy to get hungry while shopping so La Morinita has a great little in-store Taqueria to cure your fix. I had a couple of carnitas tacos and made my way through the store.

Bite and Booze Bonus: Go here to buy your Mexican Coke. I always keep my office stocked with it and they sell it in 24 bottle flats at La Morinita.




El Rio Grande: 8334 Airline Hwy.

The Rio Grande is the river that forms the border between Mexico and Texas, thus, making a great name for a quality Tex-Mex restaurant. While this post is mostly about authentic Latin American restaurants, there is such a thing as authentic Tex-Mex. It's nice to have to have a place where tamales, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and guacamole reign supreme...and did I mention margaritas? In addition to their slammin' chips, salsa, and queso, El Rio Grande has fantastic drinks and house infused tequilas. They have kind of a funky atmosphere going on, and their dishes represent what you would mostly expect to see in a Tex-Mex restaurant, but they do it right.

Bite and Booze Bonus: Don't skip on the guacamole...it's some of the best I've had in town.


Beef Quesadillas with Grilled Onions
Beef Quesadillas with Grilled Onions



El Paste Durado Panaderia Bakery: 6166 Florida Blvd.

The store part of this eatery is rather small. What's more unique is their bakery. Behind a little wall you can find cases of baked Latin American pastries which looked mighty tasty! I sat down to a crunchy basket of chips and fresh salsa. I had the Carne Asada while my Chief Confusion Coordinator, Blair, had the Beef Quesadillas with grilled onions at the recommendation of our server. The creaminess of the cheese contrasted the slight crunch of the grilled onions and crispy tortilla. Blair told me that is easily one of the most delightful quesadillas she's found.

Bite and Booze Bonus: Ask your server for the "Hot Sauce." It's essentially a salsa verde, but this one has a ton of jalapeño... spicy, but more flavorful than anything.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Seriously Playful Food: Bread & Circus Provisions is a Welcomed Wildcard in the Lafayette Culinary Scene

The Chop Block Melt on Rye: Pork Cheek Pastrami, Corned Beef & Smoked Beef Tongue, Slaw, Swiss and Celery Salt Mayo. Pictured with a Swamp Pop Noble Cane Cola.
The Chop Block Melt on Rye: Pork Cheek Pastrami, Corned Beef & Smoked Beef Tongue,
Slaw, Swiss and Celery Salt Mayo. Pictured with a Swamp Pop Noble Cane Cola.




Bread and Circus Provisions started out providing different preserves and sauces at a farmers market in Lafayette, LA. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, they now grace a new brick and mortar location that packs a lot of character. The term Bread & Circus comes from a Roman method of politically appeasing the masses, not with good policy, but instead with distractions such as food or entertainment.



Co-Owner and Chef Manny Augello prepping for dinner service







Inside you'll find a hostess stand/bar combo, shelves of their homemade preserves and sauces as well ask books about Lafayette's culinary scene and dinner series, a fresh cooler full of local veggies, a fridge full of Swamp Pop and a dining room full of atmosphere.





Owners Manny Augello and Abi Falgout are dedicated to sharing their love of food with Acadiana and it doesn't just come through, it slaps you in the face. Their infectious personalities and passion for what they do make their slamming food monumental in this community. I had the fortune of stopping by Bread & Circus while filming the Louisiana Culinary Trails project for Louisiana Travel. The place filled up quickly for dinner service packed and the food was rolling. I can definitely say that if you're looking for great, local, modern and amazing cuisine and environment, you need to check out Bread & Circus.

Pictured at the top of the post is a hearty, but tastefully balanced lunch. The Chop Block Melt, composed with different cuts of meat such as Pork Cheek Pastrami, Corned Beef & Smoked Beef Tongue, that provide savory and salty elements while the sandwich finishes with a fresh slaw gives that crisp clean crunch.

If you're a big fan of Asian style soups this is the one for you. The Boneless Pork Rib Ramen has a broth that knocks your flavor socks off. Rich, but light at the same time; the savory tones from the pork spark up garlic spikes throughout sips. The udon noodles and sprouts absorb the flavor well while the pickled quail egg has a tiny kick that sends the dish over the top.

Boneless Pork Rib Ramen: Soy Braised, Miso Broth, Udon Noodles, Pickled Quail Egg and Sprouts.
Boneless Pork Rib Ramen: Soy Braised, Miso Broth, Udon Noodles, Pickled Quail Egg and Sprouts.

If you aren't used to eating things like beef tongue and lamb heart, don't be freaked out. The Braised Heart Tacos are reminiscent beef fajitas with a stew meat-type texture and sautéed onions. The feta is saltier than a normal taco cheese and brightens up the dish. Add a few sprigs of fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime and you've got a fiesta!

Braised Heart Taco: Slow Cooked Lamb Heart, Cilantro, Curtido, Lime, and Feta. Pictured with a Parish Brewing Co. Canebrake.
Braised Heart Taco: Slow Cooked Lamb Heart, Cilantro, Curtido, Lime, and Feta.
Pictured with a Parish Brewing Co. Canebrake.

Chef Manny Augello cares about his diners. To prove it he makes each batch of noodles for the House-Made Pasta Carbonara fresh to order. Some say that's crazy, I say it's genius...and delicious. Savory, cheesy, tangy. Get it and stick your head through the window to watch him make the pasta by hand, from scratch, and to order.

House-Made Pasta* Carbonara: Pork Cheek, Black Pepper Butter, Pea Shoots, Goat's Milk Cheddar, and Toasted Breadcrumbs. *Pasta Noodles made Fresh to order.
House-Made Pasta* Carbonara: Pork Cheek, Black Pepper Butter, Pea Shoots, Goat's Milk Cheddar, and Toasted Breadcrumbs. *Pasta Noodles made Fresh to order.

PCP Home Fries. Translation: cheese fries on steroids. Instead of the basic popular girl, bacon, Bread & Circus chose the sexy cool nerd with more substance: pork cheek pastrami. Topped with tangy swiss and a garlicky finish, these fries are more than satisfactory.

PCP Home Fries: Pork Cheek Pastrami, Garlic, Smoked Meat Gravy, and Melted Swiss.
PCP Home Fries: Pork Cheek Pastrami, Garlic, Smoked Meat Gravy, and Melted Swiss.

Not your mom's charcuterie board, Bread & Circus keeps a well curated selection of cuts for their board lovers. The saltiness of the meats with the cream of the mozzarella provides your taste buds with balance... add stone ground mustard for a zingy surprise! 

B&C Charcuterie Board: Stone Ground Mustard, Fresh Mozzarella, Assorted cuts of Pork, and Salmon.
B&C Charcuterie Board: Stone Ground Mustard, Fresh Mozzarella, Assorted cuts of Pork, and Salmon.

Crispy-tarty goodness, Fried Green Tomatoes at Bread & Circus Provisions is the best combination of this classic dish I've had in quite some time. The natural tanginess of the tomatoes and the smooth savory tasso tartar sauce sustains this perpetual mouth yin and yang...until it's gone.

Fried Green Tomatoes: Panko Crusted, Tasso Tartar Sauce, and Crab Claw Relish.
Fried Green Tomatoes: Panko Crusted, Tasso Tartar Sauce, and Crab Claw Relish.

Don't be afraid of the rawness or the slightly-different-than-what-you're-used-to texture of the Lamb Tartar. The lamb is mixed with sweet red onions and spices that lend a hand to this creatively yet literally plated dish. Creaminess from the raw quail egg yolk acts as a thicker substance and tangy Tabasco house mayo kicks the flavors up another notch. Slap on some crunchy rye bread and it's a date. I love lamb.

Lamb Tartar: Raw Finely Diced Lamp, Tabasco House Mayo, Raw Quail Egg and Onion on Rye.
Lamb Tartar: Raw Finely Diced Lamp, Tabasco House Mayo, Raw Quail Egg and Onion on Rye.

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